To say this revision period hasn’t been easy for me is an understatement but I have managed to come up with some (hopefully useful) tips for revising in stressful circumstances and with deteriorating health. (Yes my health has taken a battering of late and as a result I’m facing a difficult few weeks of crawling my way back to where I was). Anyway here’s my tips:
Make a Plan
This may seem obvious but it’s something I was unable to do until the last week. I seriously advise making a plan or at the very least a list of the topics that need to be revised – that way you can tick things off on the list and see your progress which helps to alleviate some of the panic!
Look back through TMAs
TMAs, or just previous assignments at other unis, are a wealth of revision notes – you had to apply course concepts to them right? Therefore by reading back through them you can easily revise a few of them! These often also provide a context for the concepts. Having read through my TMAs the night before my exam I was semi-prepared for a question that came up which I hadn’t actually revised for!
If you find noise distracting I really recommend using earplugs. They’ve been absolutely brilliant for me, and I have to thank a good friend of mine for sending me some to try since the ones I had hurt my ears! I’ll be ordering some of this type ready for next year’s studying.
Take rests when you need them
Sounds so obvious but there literally isn’t any point in ploughing on through feeling rough it only serves to make you feel worse. It’s not worth it and only sets revision back. Do something relaxing during these breaks, something that allows your brain to rest. For me I’ve been using guided meditations during my breaks which I found really helped.
Listen to advice
It took several friends and family members to persuade me resting was best and there was no point in pushing myself too much; I wouldn’t have been trying if it hadn’t been for the situation I was in. I wish I’d listened to them sooner as I might not be in quite the same state I am in now!
Find the best method for you
I can’t claim to have found my perfect revision technique yet but I have found ‘just reading’ doesn’t quite cut it. I have to write things down in some way. Saying that a lot of my last minute revision was just skim reading as I felt covering more topics in the time I had would serve me better. Connecting it with something in my real life helps too if I can do it. Whether it be mind maps, flash cards, quizzes, rewriting notes…do whatever works for you. If it makes it stick in your mind use that method. I aimed to give flashcards and quizzes a go but didn’t get a chance for this course! Perhaps for my next exam!!
Don’t panic. You can do this. It may seem insurmountable but remember it’ll be worth it. I’ve had my moments during this revision period where I’ve seriously considered giving up on my degree completely. It seemed impossible to revise with everything that was going on and my health deteriorating. But thanks to some truly amazing and supportive friends and family I’ve decided to continue. I’m not convinced this exam will prove the best possible grade, but I am happy in the knowledge I did my best in some very difficult circumstances; circumstances that would be challenging for most healthy people, let alone those with a chronic illness, and that will have to suffice. Besides I might surprise myself yet!